United Nations Public Service Award Winners


Initiative: Public Sanitary Pads Support Policy 


Institution: Seoul Metropolitan Government


Problem: Teens and women from low-income population do not be have access to affordable sanitary pads. Public bathrooms generally do not have vending machines for sanitary pads for purchase. There was a need to make safe and hygienic menstruation practices available to all women in public facilities and improve reproductive healthcare.


Solution: The project began in 2016 to provide sanitary pads to low-income teens. Since then it has expanded to become a national project. In 2017, it reached approximately 992 facilities used by disadvantaged individuals. There is a plan to install 200 public sanitary pad dispensers in 2019 with expansion in the future. SMG has increased the care and information through the Seoul Municipal Health Center for Teen Girls (SMHC). It operates 250 “Girl Care” pharmacies and has designed an informational website and notebook on menstruation. Furthermore, SMG is implementing diverse projects to improve public perception of menstruation, such as making reusable sanitary pads events and festivals participated by corporate employees and celebrities.


Impact: A master plan was designed in 2018 for the installation of emergency sanitary pad dispensers in public locations to maximize convenience. After trial operations in 11 public locations, diverse institutions have been encouraged to participate through promotional videos, manuals and incentives. SMG has also increased the accessibility of care and information through SMHC.



Category 5:

Promoting Gender-responsive Public Services to Achieve the SDGs


Related SDGs: 







Republic of Korea



Asia and the Pacific Group


More information: 

Public Sanitary Pads Support Policy for Menstrual Health Equity







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